• The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

  • Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope
  • By: William Kamkwamba, Bryan Mealer
  • Narrated by: Chike Johnson
  • Length: 10 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 12-02-09
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: HarperAudio
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.3 (412 ratings)

Regular price: $30.79

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Publisher's Summary

William Kamkwamba was born in Malawi, a country where magic ruled and modern science was mystery. It was also a land withered by drought and hunger, and a place where hope and opportunity were hard to find.
Enchanted by the workings of electricity as a boy, William had a goal to study science in Malawi's top boarding schools. But in 2002, his country was stricken with a famine that left his family's farm devastated and his parents destitute. Unable to pay the 80-dollar-a-year tuition for his education, William was forced to drop out and help his family forage for food as thousands across the country starved and died.
Yet William refused to let go of his dreams. With nothing more than a fistful of cornmeal in his stomach, a small pile of once-forgotten science textbooks, and an armory of curiosity and determination, he embarked on a daring plan to bring his family a set of luxuries that only two percent of Malawians could afford and what the West considers a necessity--electricity and running water. Using scrap metal, tractor parts, and bicycle halves, William forged a crude yet operable windmill, an unlikely contraption and small miracle that eventually powered four lights, complete with homemade switches and a circuit breaker made from nails and wire. A second machine turned a water pump that could battle the drought and famine that loomed with every season.
Soon, news of William's magetsi a mphepo--his "electric wind"--spread beyond the borders of his home, and the boy who was once called crazy became an inspiration to those around the world.
Here is the remarkable story about human inventiveness and its power to overcome crippling adversity. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind will inspire anyone who doubts the power of one individual's ability to change his community and better the lives of those around him.
©2009 William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers
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Critic Reviews

"William Kamkwamba's achievements with wind energy should serve as a model of what one person, with an inspired idea, can do to tackle the crisis we face. His book tells a moving and exciting story." (Al Gore, former Vice President and Nobel Laureate)
"This exquisite tale strips life down to its barest essentials, and once there finds reason for hopes and dreams, and is especially resonant for Americans given the economy and increasingly heated debates over health care and energy policy." ( Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By L. Lyter on 12-27-10

Just Wonderful

Inspirational story of a boy who grows up with next to nothing in Africa and loses even that in a famine. Incredibly, secondary education is not accessible for this bright, curious boy and this is the cruelest blow of all. William triumphs over these obstacles by building a windmill largely from junkyard parts. I wish nothing but the best for William. The narration was unique but fit the story well. The toughest thing about listening to this book is coming back to reality and our materialistic, self centered lives.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By E Wagner on 07-06-15

A story of INGENUITY, richly narrated

Narrator Chike Johnson's warm and accurately-accented reading of William Kamkwamba's story makes me glad that I listened to it on audio rather than just reading it off a page. The beautiful East African accent is easy to understand and helps draw the listener into the story. Moreover, the endurance, resilience, and determination Kamkwamba demonstrates had me practically cheering through the second part of the book as he painstakingly gathers the materials for his windmill.

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6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By marina on 09-03-13

Positive Uplifting True Story

Really enjoyed this book. Its a true story and he even has a TED talk.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Tara Scott on 09-03-17

Moving and Inspirational

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the narration of Kamkwamba's triumph over obstacles. The determination and perseverance of William shows others of what can be accomplished when they put their mind to it.

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